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St. Edward’s University Archives - Barbara Bush Receives Mission Award (1996)

St. Edward’s University

Sound | 1996

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  •  Fox 7 News report 
  •  KVUE 24 News report, featuring an appearance by then Governor George W. Bush 
 
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This pair of local television news segments report on the presentation of St. Edward’s University’s Mission Award to former First Lady Barbara Bush on May 24, 1996. Bush was chosen for the honor for “her commitment to the disadvantaged and to advancing literacy.” The former first lady founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy in 1989, which seeks to improve literacy among children in the United States. The Mission Award recognized individuals whose words and actions reflected the St. Edward's mission statement, which calls for students and faculty to recognize their larger responsibility to the world community.
St. Edward’s University is a private Roman Catholic institution of higher learning located in Austin, Texas. It was established in 1877 by the Reverend Edward Sorin, CSC, Superior General of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. Sorin also founded the University of Notre Dame. The campus moved to its current location in 1889. Famed Galveston architect Nicholas Clayton built the university’s Main Building, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. St. Edward’s received its university charter in 1925, and became co-educational in 1970. Today, the university’s enrollment exceeds 5,000 students rom 44 states and 51 countries. 
Born in New York City, Barbara Bush (1925-2018) moved to Texas in 1948. Her husband, future President George H. W. Bush, first pursued a career in the oil business, founding the Zapata Corporation in 1953. The young family moved to Houston in 1959, where George entered politics. As he rose to prominence within the Republican Party, Barbara raised the couple’s six children: George, Robin, John (called Jeb), Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. She also managed the family’s many moves (29 total over 44 years of marriage). 
 
George was elected Vice President of the United States in 1980. During her time as Second Lady from 1981 to 1989, Barbara became an advocate for literacy causes. In addition to working with literacy organizations, she also wrote a children’s book, C. Fred’s Story, to benefit related charities. Barbara continued her support following her husband’s election to the presidency in 1988, founding the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. As First Lady from 1989 to 1993, she also worked with the White House Historical Association to build an endowment for the ongoing refurbishment of White House state rooms. 
George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States and the 46th Governor of Texas. 
 
Bush was born on July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut, to Barbara Pierce and George H.W. Bush, who later became the 41st President of the United States. He had five siblings -- Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Dorothy, and Robin, who died at an early age. They grew up in Midland, Texas, before moving to Houston when George was in middle school. He attended Yale University and then, in 1968, he began a two-year active duty service with the Texas Air National Guard. Bush then served with the Alabama National Guard before receiving honorable discharge in 1974. He graduated from the Harvard Business School and moved back to Midland to work in the oil industry. There he met Laura Welch, a teacher and librarian. They married in 1977 and have twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara. 
 
Bush’s first attempt at holding political office was in 1978, when he lost a bid for the U.S. House of Representatives in Texas’s 19th Congressional District. He went back to the oil industry in Texas in the 1980s, but then moved to Washington to help his father run his presidential campaign. In between his father’s first and second presidential campaigns, Bush returned to Texas and purchased a share of the Texas Rangers baseball franchise. 
 
In 1994, Bush pursued the office of Governor of Texas against Democratic incumbent Ann Richards, and he won with 55 percent of the votes. While in office, Bush pushed tax cuts, education, and renewable energy. He was popular and easily won reelection in 1998. Amid much speculation, Bush announced that he would seek the Republican nomination for the 2000 presidential election. He won the primary against John McCain and chose Dick Cheney as his running mate. They ran his campaign on conservative values and his record as Governor of Texas, but the campaign became notorious for the Florida recount and the ensuing lawsuit, Bush v. Gore.  Bush ultimately won the election with the greater number of electoral votes even though Democratic nominee Al Gore received more popular votes. 
 
Bush’s domestic agenda for his first term was drastically altered after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, which led to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He created the Department of Homeland Security and aimed to thwart future terrorist threats, while also hoping to pass tax cuts and improve public education. Senator John Kerry challenged Bush in the 2004 election, but Bush ultimately won. Early in his second term, the federal government was met with harsh public criticism for its inadequate response to the devastation from Hurricane Katrina. The continued War on Terror and the economic recession in 2008 greatly diminished Bush’s reputation.  Bush returned to Texas after leaving office, splitting his time between Dallas and his ranch in Crawford and making occasional public appearances.